Zimbabwe’s Warriors are in disarray with neither a squad in place nor funding ahead of mid June’s meeting with the Flames in the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group L qualifier.
Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela told his country’s The Herald newspaper that lack of funding was hurting their plans, which include preparing for next month’s Cosafa Cup in South Africa.
“It is not a secret that the nation wants football to bring back the glory days, but in our situation we are limited mostly by lack of funding,” Gwesela is quoted telling www.herald.co.zw .
“Of course, we are aware the team needs camping and to play friendly games as well but everything hinges on the availability of resources. Preparations need funding. It is difficult to run football without support from the government and the corporate world.”
Zifa wants to feature their Under-23 team, led by Callisto Pasuwa, in Cosafa Cup and Afcon qualifiers. Former Zimbabwe coach Sunday Chidzambwa has since said that he was worried with the Warriors’ inactivity.
“I do not agree with people, who say it is an easy draw. No, it is not an easy group. Malawi and Guinea are quite strong. That team (Malawi) is not easily beaten at home. They are a very strong side,” Chidzambwa told the same newspaper.
“And if you look at Guinea that team which was playing at Afcon and reached the quarterfinal stage is a strong team. So, we have to really work hard to reach the levels of those teams. Do we have time to reach that level and form a formidable team?”
Malawi—who are in camp and are no stranger to facing funding hitches—lost 4-1 to Zimbabwe last March in Blantyre. The two teams square up again in the group whose top side will qualify for Afcon finals alongside overall second best team across 14 qualifying groups. Hosts Gabon have automatically made it.
Flames last qualified for Afcon finals in 2010 when the tournament took place in Angola. Malawi coach Young Chimodzi earlier admitted that there are no longer easy teams in world football.